Territory

Wonders of Madeira

Water supply channel in laurel forest, Madeira
Water supply channel in laurel forest / Jnvalves, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0

WorldBlue  Highlights

Macaronesian islands – Azores, Canary Islands, Cabo Verde, and Madeira – are like messengers from a better, brighter and more interesting world. Madeira represents almost all (without archaeological heritage which is present only in the Canary Islands) of their beauty: mountains, beautiful scenery, subtropical forest and wealth of European architectural heritage. Most interesting landmark – or rather a complex of landmarks – is the unique forest in the central part of the largest island – world’s largest laurel forest.

Map with the described wonders

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WorldViolet Top 23 wonders of Madeira

Geological wonders

Cabo Girão

Câmara de Lobos

A prominent cliff face, rising up to 589 m high directly from the ocean. Cliff is some 3 km wide. At the foot of the cliff in some places is a narrow strip of land with terraced fields – Fajãs de Cabo Girão.

Cabo Girão, Madeira
Pedreira do Piano in Porto Santo

Porto Santo

Former quarry of basalt with impressive formations of hexagonal basalt.

Pedreira do Piano, Porto Santo
Véu da Noiva Falls (Seixal Waterfall)

Porto Moniz

Some 110 m tall waterfall falls along the steep seaside cliffs directly into the ocean. Wind often blows the falls sideways.

Véu da Noiva Falls, Madeira
Cascata dos Anjos

Ponta do Sol

90 m tall waterfall that often pours on the roofs of cars driving along the sea.

Cascata do Anjos, Madeira
Risco Waterfall

Calheta

Approximately 100 m tall waterfall.

Risco Falls, Madeira
Garganta Funda waterfall

Calheta

Approximately 140 m tall waterfall that slides down along a nearly vertical cliff.

Garganta Funda waterfall, Madeira
Folhadal waterfall

São Vicente

Beautiful, nearly vertical waterfall high in the mountains, in a pristine forest.

Folhadal waterfall, Madeira
Caldeirão Verde Falls

Santana

Some 100 m tall waterfall that slides down along nearly vertical cliff.

Caldeirão Verde Falls
São Vicente Caves

São Vicente

More than 1,000 m long lava caves with some 700 m long trail for tourists. Caves include Volcano Center – a visitor center explaining the geological history of caves.

São Vicente Caves, Madeira
Agua D’Alto (São Vicente)

São Vicente

More than 100 m tall waterfall at the sea. The stream is sliding down along a very steep cliff.

Agua D'Alto near São Vicente, Madeira
25 Fontes Falls

Porto Moniz

Group of waterfalls from springs, falling into a pool. Falls are up to 30 m high.

25 Fontes Falls

Biological wonders

Madeiran laurisilva

Unique, roughly 150 km² large subtropical humid forest, a remnant of once widespread forests. The most impressive subtropical forest in Europe and the largest laurisilva forest in the world. Here live some 600 endemic species of plants and animals. The pristine forest is crossed by old waterways and pathways between villages.

In laurel forest, Madeira
Til in Montado do Sabugal

Santana

Giant til tree (Ocotea foetens) with a height of 37 m and circumference of 13.80 m. In this location are some of the largest and oldest laurel trees.

Deserta Grande ecosystem

Santa Cruz

Small Desertas Islands have numerous unique species. On Deserta Grande lives the largest European tarantula – 4.5 cm long body as well as an enormous carrot and 14 species of endemic snails in unusual colors.

Deserta Grande island

Architecture wonders

Cathedral of Funchal

Funchal

One of the oldest structures in Madeira, built in Gothic style in the 1490ies – 1518.

Funchal Cathedral, Madeira
Church of Saint John the Evangelist in Funchal

Funchal

Ornate church in Mannerist and Portuguese Baroque styles, built by Jesuits in 1629 – 1647, fully completed in the middle of the 18th century. The interior of the church is ornate, even sumptuous.

Church of Saint John the Evangelist, Funchal
Old Town of Funchal

Funchal

The historical and present main city in Madeira started to develop around 1424. The narrow streets often are adorned with beautiful Portuguese stone sidewalks and lined with numerous historical buildings.

Funchal, Madeira
Quebrada Nova fields at Achadas da Cruz

Porto Moniz

Stone walled agricultural fields on a narrow land strip between 400 m tall cliffs and ocean.

Quebrada Nova fields from Achadas da Cruz cliff
Madeira Airport runway

Santa Cruz

One of the most daring airport structures in the world – a runway that was built partly on an artificial platform. This platform is elevated on 180 columns that rise 70 m from the sea and also above a highway.

Madeira Airport runway
Fort of Pico (Fortaleza de São João Baptista do Pico)

Funchal

One of the most impressive fortresses on the island, built to protect Madeira from pirates. Construction was started around 1601 and lasted until 1640. Impressive is the enormous water tank cut in the cliff.

Fort of Pico, Madeira
House of Columbus in Vila Baleira

Porto Santo

A house where Christopher Columbus and his wife lived at the end of the 15th century before Columbus discovered America. Now here is a museum.

House of Columbus in Vila Baleira
Fort of São Tiago

Funchal

This fort was built at the seaside in the 16th – 17th century and is preserved in a very good state.

Fort of São Tiago, Madeira
Capela do Corpo Santo

Funchal

This beautiful chapel was built in the 15th – 16th century. The main value is the exquisite interior, especially the numerous paintings on the ceiling.

Capela do Corpo Santo in Funchal, Madeira

WorldYellow Recommended books

Madeira: The Finest Valley and Mountain Walks


Every island thrives on its clichés. The name Madeira stands for a heavy drop of wine that might have had its time a long time ago, yet is still praised by many a connoisseur. The island’s all-year-round mild climate helped Madeira be awarded the decorative suffix »floating floral island in the Atlantic«. Bird of paradise and torch lilies, daisies, and hydrangea leaves no doubt: Madeira is rich in flowers like no other island.

Madeira: Car Tours and Walks


THE guide to Madeira for more than 30 years and a winner of the Thomas Cook Best Travel Guide Award, this book is by far the most heavily reviewed guide on Amazon, with 86 reviews for the previous edition. It guides the visitor across the island by car and on foot. But it is primarily known as a walking guide. The ‘Sunday Times’ said, ‘A remarkable paperback which may have done more than any other to change the way its readers spend their holidays: this book single-handedly turned levada-walking into something approaching a craze.’


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